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How to get the most out of my Linksys WRT54GS

Last response: in Wireless Networking
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May 22, 2012 1:42:25 PM

I just upgraded my cable internet speeds to 30mbps down, 2mbps up. The best download speeds that I am able to get on a wireless connection is 21mbps. I have two laptops at home and both of them are wireless G.

I thought this could change by getting myself a new router, so I googled some of the reviews and ended up getting a Linksys EA4500... nothing changed, so I returned it.

I'm assuming I could get 30mbps with wireless N only? Isn't there a way that I can tweak the setting of my current router so I could reach those speeds? I mean, if they say wireless G can go up to 54mbps, then there must be a way.

P.S.: I am getting 31mbps down and 2mpbs up on a wired connection.

More about : linksys wrt54gs

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July 9, 2012 3:08:55 AM

Your wireless connection should be able to keep pace with your internet connection, but there are some caveats. This info is fairly easy to find, but since I've been through several instances of the same problem in customers' homes, I'll fill you in.


1) The theoretical speed of your wifi access point is the maximum throughput of all (simultaneous) connections established between the access point and the wireless devices connected to it. This finite bandwidth is divided among all connected clients. More devices (ipod, laptop, roku, etc.) means less speed available per device.

2) That maximum speed is determined using no encryption. A smart user is most assuredly using WPA2 encryption to keep his network, and the machines on it, safe. This encryption increases the overhead on the wireless network, so there is less bandwidth available for use. Lighter encryption=faster speed=less security; heavier encryption=slower speed=better security.

3) The access point is probably not the only device using the 2.4GHz ISM band nearby. Cordless phones; bluetooth keyboards, mice, and headsets; microwave ovens; neighbors' wifi networks: these are all things competing for, and introducing noise into, the wireless spectrum your access point is operating within. Setting the wireless channel in your access point to Auto, or testing the channels one at a time may help to find a less noisy frequency to run on, and may improve your wireless performance.

4) Location of the access point and the orientation of it's movable antennae can cause performance problems with any wireless device. Generally, the higher you mount the device, and the further from other electronics, the better. The radio-frequency (RF) signal coming from your access point is greatly effected by metal, moisture, and large, inanimate solids. RF is considered a line-of-sight communication medium, so the clearer the path between two nodes, the better. Placing your access point on a high shelf or on top of your entertainment center may help. Getting it out of the corner or out from the wall a bit may help, as well. Believe it or not, some drywall/wallboard has a metal foil layer which can seriously degrade wireless performance and even make it hard to get cellular signal in your home.

5) Wireless mode (802.11B-only, B&G, G-only) effects performance as well. Running a mixed-mode network, such as 802.11 B&G mode, absolutely slows wireless performance. If all your devices are 802.11G or better, then run in G-only mode. If you must run a mixed network, then re-consider using a wired connection for your bandwidth-intensive devices or upgrading to a router with multiple radios.

There you have it. I'm really curious what you're using that takes so much bandwidth, though. 30Mb/s is lust-worthy to many, but even 10Mb/s was more than adequate for all my HD streaming in the living room. I've moved to a new area where, brace yourself, 1.5Mb/s ADSL is the only thing available, and even that usually serves my streaming needs well enough that I don't notice visual artifacts on the 55" 1080p meter-breaker. But hey, if you have 10, 15, or 30Mb available, why not have it. Sure makes downloading movie purchases/rentals, podcasts, and open-source software speedy as hell. And you don't have to stop uploads/downloads when the (Vonage) phone rings.
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July 11, 2012 2:26:24 PM

Thank you so much. This is by far the most accurate explanation of this issue that I've had.

I used to have 8mbps. The reason why I switched to 30mbps is because the ISPs here offered it for less than what I was paying for 8mbps connection. I used to be capped at 110Gb monthly, now I have 250GB and a better connection for a better price.
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July 11, 2012 6:20:18 PM

Wow, I need your ISP in my area! You can't argue with a deal like that.

So have you made any progress on improving your wireless performance?
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July 18, 2012 2:23:22 AM

Best answer selected by manuntd7.
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July 18, 2012 2:30:06 AM

Well, the only change I made is to switch the settings to output G only instead of mixed mode. So far, the only advantage i found is the range.

But I think it would be better for me to purchase a new router, not because I need it, but to make my network future proof. After all, the WRT54GS is out of date, and I could use the extra performance + range. My laptop is starting to get old as well, the screen doesn't perform as well as it used to, and I'm having issues with power.

I plan on getting the Linksys EA4500.
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July 18, 2012 2:30:34 AM

Well, the only change I made is to switch the settings to output G only instead of mixed mode. So far, the only advantage i found is the range.

But I think it would be better for me to purchase a new router, not because I need it, but to make my network future proof. After all, the WRT54GS is out of date, and I could use the extra performance + range. My laptop is starting to get old as well, the screen doesn't perform as well as it used to, and I'm having issues with power.

I plan on getting the Linksys EA4500.
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